EATER Journeys: Paris & Burgundy

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A bite of a single madelaine – France’s most delicate and buttery cake – was enough to send the narrator of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time into a 1,000-page-long reverie on life and love. And this, we think, says everything you need to know about the French and their food. On this extremely bon excursion around the land of haute cuisine and world-class wines, you’ll learn your Mille-feuille from your croque monsieur.

EIFFEL IN LOVE WITH PARIS

Paris. A city of cute bistros, elegant restaurants, and revolutionary inclinations. Here, our guide will be your maitre’d, swooping you across to Grand Hotel du Palais Royal, your elegant 3-night oasis in the beating heart of Paris, an idyllic base for a Parisian eating adventure. Relax and unwind before getting out on the town, starting with pre-dinner drinks in the stylish Marais neighborhood. Swing by Aux Deux Amis, famous for its organic wines and top selection of tap beers, and Le Vin au Vert for their natural champagnes, before your reservation at La Bourse et la Vie; one of Paris’s finest bistros. 

BISTROS AND BRASSERIES

Rise and shine, it’s time to meet a local culinary expert for a tour of some of Paris’s most famed local markets, including Marché Montorgeuil and Rungis. Enjoy the sights and sounds of daily Parisian life as you learn how to source the best ingredients for a classic French meal, followed by a private cooking class near La Bourse. Belly full, it’s time to kick back and relax with an afternoon at leisure before taking a seat at the renowned Champeaux Les Halles, nestled beneath the renovated glass Canopée des Halles. This sleek brasserie revisits classic French dishes from green bean salad to steak frites and succulent lamb chops. The winning dish, however, is their signature soufflé. Sweet or savoury? The choice is yours.

THE CRÈME DE LA CRÈME

Cheese and wine are the ultimate pairing. And so, today’s lunch will be spent learning how France’s culinary traditions have handed them the crown as a world leader in producing rich, bold cheeses and sumptuous wines. A sommelier will coach you through the wine labels and food pairings while you indulge in France’s dairy delicacies. Your dinner reservation tonight is at Sellae, near the Gare d’Austerlitz, for some rustic contemporary French comfort food, including mussels cooked with vin jaune and chorizo, guinea hen in cream sauce with morels. Don’t forget to save room for dessert: a superbly rich chocolate mousse.

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EATER Journeys: Rome & Florence

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With a food scene liberally dunked in the olive oil of history, Italy serves up a truly incomparable eating experience. For Italians, cooking and wine are – well – their culture’s bread and butter, all of it farmed, grown and cultivated from the country’s alpine nose to its balmy tail. Tomatoes raised on rich volcanic soil; plump lemons pulled from the branches of Amalfi; focaccia freshly baked in the ovens of Florence. Good food is good culture. With the world-renowned culinary insight from our friends at Eater, we’ve brought together two of the most mouth-watering spots for you to tuck into; Rome and Florence.

WHEN IN ROME

Your gastronomic journey begins in the heart of Rome. On arrival, we will transport you deep within the city to Spalletti Trivelli, your base the next few nights. Set in a traditional Italian garden, this intimate hotel is the ideal spot for those who want to escape the bustle of the city without missing out on all the action. Once settled, tonight’s meal of classic cucina romana at Trattoria Da Cesare al Casaletto is sure to set the bar high. Here, you can check off most of your Roman food bucket list, from the rich cacio e pepe to tender lamb chops, washed down with a glass of classic Sangiovese. Or a few.

FROM BASIL TO BASILICA

Starting the day bright and early, your private guide will lead you out for a special tour of the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. Beat the crowds with early access to the Vatican Museum to fully take in that grand beauty of the Sistine Chapel, followed by St. Peter’s Basilica, filled with renowned works of art. Finish the day at a Roman trattoria dedicated to la cucina povera, Italian peasant food. This restaurant boasts true Italian form, showcasing a simple use of local ingredients at their seasonal peak.

BEEN THERE, WINE THAT

The following morning, the stories of the Roman Empire come to life. With a day spent among the iconic ruins of this once mighty (and well-fed) empire, you’ll be served up everything from panoramic views on the historic Capitoline Hill to the eye-opening Colosseum. After a big slice of sightseeing, you’ll be ready for a well-deserved trip to Rome’s most traditional enoteche (wine bars) to savour the best wines Italy has to offer. The tasting tour, led by a professional sommelier, pours a delicious tutorial on the styles unique to the Italian peninsula. From there, it’s on to dinner to sample the soulful simplicity of Rome’s classics at Cicolini’s dining room, based in the Appio-Latino quarter. Chef Sarah Cicolini is one of the hottest young chefs in Rome today, serving up hearty plates of carbonara and a sumptuous trippa alla romana.

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Antrim, Donegal & Mayo: An Adventurous Family Holiday in Ireland

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For centuries, the Emerald Isle has been home to any number of myths and legends with Atlantic tides sweeping in to unveil the new and untold, before rolling back out again to leave you with secret discoveries. The perfect destination for a family holiday filled with adventure and intrigue, in Ireland, the outdoors becomes a classroom for curious minds to latch onto. Spend nine-days travelling through Ireland meeting local characters and personalities as you go, from a farmer and his sheepdog to a fossil hunter and real-life Leprechaun whisperer – there’s never a dull moment. Couple that with castles to rest up in at night and kayaks to explore Dublin in and you have the perfect action-packed family adventure.

Life on the River Liffey

Flying into Dublin, you’ll be swiftly whisked off to The Merrion hotel where a quick stroll around neighbouring Merrion Square ought to do the trick to beat any post-flight fatigue. Just a hop away from many of Dublin’s best sights as well as a host of trendy shops and restaurants, The Merrion is the perfect launchpad into the city. Join a local historian to get your bearings on a private walking tour before taking to the water tomorrow and seeing the city from a whole new perspective.

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Diamond Circle: Get off the Beaten Track in Northern Iceland

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Iceland; the country on everyone’s lips. But after you’ve climbed inside Þríhnúkagigur, snorkelled the Silfra Fissure and traversed the Golden Circle – what comes next? To answer that question, we’re looking north to the second city of Akureyri, the untouched wilderness of Myvatn and the, as yet undiscovered, Diamond Circle. Outside the realms of the tourist tracks of south Iceland, the north is a step back in time to Iceland as it once was – raw and unknown. To really appreciate the difference though, start off seeing on the Golden Circle (after all, it’s still spectacular), before heading north to hidden hot waterfalls, caves of the silver-screen and a dash of nature yoga. Grjótagjá, Gjástykki and Þeistareykir; they may not be known now, so get there before they are.

The Classic

Touching down, your trip starts in the trendsetting capital of Reykjavik with a stay at the chic Hotel Alda, just off Laugavegur. Spend the evening getting to know the bars and restaurants that lie just a short stroll away before getting a sense for Southern Iceland the next day. In the morning, jump in your private super jeep for the day as you head east to the Golden Circle. A route carved between Iceland’s most iconic sights, there is no better introduction to this spellbinding country as you curve through the ethereal beauty of Þingvellir National Park and onto the geothermal power of Geysir and the thunder of Gullfoss. Head back to Hotel Alda in the evening for one last night before heading north to Iceland’s true wilderness early tomorrow.

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Alaska & Hawaii: An Ice & Fire Adventure

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One of the greatest joys of travelling through the United States is the variety of landscapes you encounter along the way – and the pace at which they change. We’ve travelled from north to south and east to west to take in each and every state but one journey we can’t get enough of is that across the outliers of Alaska and Hawaii. Think Alaska – and the mind conjures up images of sweeping landscapes where people are few and far between. Then – consider Hawaii and tropical hues seep in to give everything the iridescent glow of island life. Think of the two together and you have a contrast which defies explanation. So much so, it can only really be experienced. Spend twelve nights between these two naturally beautiful states as you discover hole up in remote luxury in the wilds of Alaska before watching the sunrise from atop a volcano and snorkelling through hidden lava caves in Hawaii.

Into the Wild

After a quick overnight in Anchorage on arrival, it’s straight out into the wilderness as you pull up in the small town of Talkeetna to board a helicopter to your home for the next three nights. Tucked deep within the Alaska Range at a towering 6,000ft above sea level and ensconced amid peaks and glaciers, Sheldon Chalet is as unique as it comes. Home to just five suites, each with a view that you’ll never tire of, spend the next three days alongside like-minded travellers as you discover the majesty of Denali. Whether trekking across a glacier, rappelling down a rock face or trekking into the historic mountain house – no day here is the same as another and with a helicopter on permanent standby, Denali truly is at your fingertips.

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Tasting Notes of England with Simon Rogan

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Though perhaps not the first destination that comes to mind for a gourmet discovery, there’s a lot more to England’s culinary scene than meets the eye. Eager to lift the lid on all that our home turf has to offer the gourmet traveller, we’ve teamed up with Michelin-starred, critically-acclaimed chef Simon Rogan to co-curate a week-long deep dive into British cuisine. Following a route that traces Simon’s career, you’ll go from an exclusive winemaking experience in Hampshire to innovative cooking techniques at Aulis in London before culminating at his signature restaurant, L’Enclume, up in the Lake District. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to get behind the pass with Simon as well as joining him on ‘Our Farm’ to learn more about the local produce that he has championed throughout his career. Highlighting flavours that are fresh, organic and incredibly innovative, this is our Tasting Notes of England.

A Hampshire Hideaway

Touchdown in the UK and we’ll whisk you straight out into the country surroundings of Hampshire and the refined luxury of Heckfield Place. A grand Georgian manor home set within hundreds of acres of rolling countryside, it’s the perfect place to shake off any weariness with an invigorating walk through the pleasure grounds, woodlands and walled gardens that surround you. If all you need is a good film and a cup of tea though, the screening room will sort you out.

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Kuala Lumpur to Pangkor Laut: Off the Beaten Track in Malaysia

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If you thought there was little more to Malaysia than the pearlescent beaches of Langkawi and the bashful orangutans of Borneo, this ten-day trip will have you thinking again. Peninsular Malaysia is a fascinating destination where history, culture and food combine to create something just as colourful as the landscapes that surround them. Filled with intel from our South East Asia experts, this trip promises to get you under the skin of the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur before taking to the mystical Cameron Highlands to cool down. Through the jungles of Belum and onto the shores of Pangkor Laut, prepare to see what caught our eye in Malaysia.

New Cuisines in Kuala Lumpur

Begin your journey in the metropolis that is Kuala Lumpur, staying at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental. Sitting next to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, staying here means you’re right in the heart of the action. With your own personal guide on hand, explore the old and new charms of this vibrant city. From towering skyscrapers, colonial builds and traditional mosques and temples; get a feel of what makes this city tick. Kuala Lumpur also boasts some incredible food stalls open – many staying open until the wee hours of the morning. Don’t know your char kuey teow from your mee goreng, your roti canai from your roti bom? We’ll send you out with an expert guide to get to grip with all the best delicacies.

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Baja Peninsula: An Action-Packed Beach Break

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If you fancy yourself a beachside retreat with more to offer than days stretched out beneath the sun, we have created an exhilarating coastal break in this nine-day trip to the Baja Peninsula. With one of the most exciting and diverse landscapes in Mexico, the sun-soaked Baja California promises plenty of thrills and spills alongside its boutique hotels and spas. Where else can you swim with whale sharks and learn to throw a pot in a remote mountain village?  Completely unique—this is one of our favourite coastal getaways.

Swim with Whale Sharks in the Sea of Cortez

Kicking off your trip in style, as soon as you land in Los Cabos you’ll be whisked straight out to the spectacular Posada de Las Flores in La Paz. Journeying through miles of cacti-peppered desert, golden beaches and dark mountainside, you’ll get your first taste of the haunting, otherworldly beauty of Baja California as you go. Soak in these natural wonders and the fragrance of desert flowers as you watch the superb sunset from your private suite terrace.

Nestled on a secluded nook on the east side of the peninsula, La Paz provides the perfect base to enjoy one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems – the Sea of Cortez. With your private guide to lead you, plunge into this underwater wonderland in search of whale sharks. These gentle giants of the deep can reach up to 20 meters in length and will leave you feeling as if you’ve entered a lost world swimming alongside them.

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The Himalayas: A Spiritual Adventure

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You only need to spend a few days in the northern Indian region of Ladakh before you succumb to the spiritual powers of this ex-Buddhist Kingdom. On this 12 night luxury holiday to India, you’ll discover the symbolism of peace and freedom in this fascinating part of the world. Hole up at the luxurious Chamba Camp, where you’ll have the opportunity to reconnect with your spiritual side and immerse yourself in local communities as you embark on a rejuvenating nomadic journey in the heart of the Himalayas.

LIFE IN THE HIMALAYAS

Touch down in Delhi where you’ll be whisked straight to The Imperial. Rejuvenated by a good night’s sleep, the following day we’ll jet you to Leh and the heart of the Himalayas. At 3,332m, your first stop is a traditional village house in Nimoo. Your guide will meet you at the airport and take you to the beautiful village characterised by stunning mountain scenery. With a courtyard and roof terrace, your hotel is the perfect place to relax as you acclimatize to the altitude. Immerse yourself in local life with a lesson in Ladakhi cooking with a local family, then for some spiritual insight, visit the charming Phyang monastery. If you’re feeling more active, our guides can also take you on a hike through the stunning scenery to enjoy the views.

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Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough & Nelson: Indulge in the Wines of New Zealand

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Wine and food lovers: you’re in for a treat. It’s no secret that New Zealand wine has a world-renowned reputation and this trip will take you to some of the most exclusive wineries the country has to offer, all set within stunning locations. Meet the experts, taste rare vintages and admire dramatic landscapes before ending up on curved white sand beaches for a final finale. Bottoms up…

Waiheke Island of Wine

Stepping off the plane at Auckland Airport, you’ll be whisked away by helicopter to Waiheke Island. Here, you’ll soon find yourself being warped into the slow-paced island life, and quickly transforming into the ultimate beachcomber while nestling in the luxury surroundings of the Boatshed. The Island lies on the same relative latitude as the southern tip of Italy, not only making it the perfect getaway for those escaping the winter chill, but it also means Waiheke benefits from ideal conditions to produce fantastic wine.

Never heard of, or tasted, the mouth-watering reds of Waiheke? That’s because most of Waiheke’s wine is only available for purchase on the island or at selected fine dining restaurants around the world. Quelle treat. Our expert wine guide will escort you to the most reputable vineyards and restaurants of Stoney Ridge, such as the internationally renowned Gold Water Estate and many more. Our advice? Pack light and leave room in the suitcase for a couple of bottles to bring home.

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